NOTES ON COMMODITY FORMS AND THE BUSINESS TAKEOVER OF SCHOOLS
These notes are for a seminar with second year Education Studies students at the University of East London, Stratford Campus, on 20th November 2019.
Commodification, marketisation, monetisation (the increasing scourge of money), and competition, commercialisation (advertising and selling-centred image manipulation) in education: how do we challenge and terminate these developments, if we wish to? Do we rely on the state to protect us from these insurgencies by capitalist interests and motivations in contemporary education? Will pressure from below, from us, urge the state to curb and end the role of business in education? Do we hope for a victory of Corbyn’s Labour Party in the forthcoming General Election to end the business takeover of education?
These notes indicate a way forward regarding posting answers to these questions. It is argued that we need to attack the business takeover of education at the micro level: at the level of the commodity, first and foremost.
The first Part of these notes focuses on this micro-level: commodity forms, the basic, elemental phenomena of capitalist society. Part Two explores one of these commodity forms, the general class of commodities, in terms of its development in contemporary schools. The focus is on how the general class of commodities, through the business takeover of schools, grows and spreads. The examples explored in Part Two come from schools in England, though, as Verger, Fontdevilla and Zancajo (2016) demonstrate, what they call the ‘global education industry’ (which is roughly equivalent to what I take as the business takeover of education) is a world-wide phenomenon, not confined to the UK, the US or Europe.
The perspective of these notes rests on Marxism; the ideas of Karl Marx and those who embrace his critique of capitalist society and its social scientific armoury. There are many forms of Marxism, and I stand within what has been called ‘Open Marxism’ – based on the work of people such as John Holloway and Werner Bonefeld. For 40 years, I have studied and organised around what has become known as Marxist educational theory.
The rest of these Notes can be found at Academia, in my ‘Teaching Documents’ section: https://www.academia.edu/40918435/Notes_on_Commodity_Forms_and_the_Business_Takeover_of_Schools
14 November 2019
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